SPSFC Finalist Review: Melody by David Hoffer

The end of the second annual Self-Published Science Fiction Competition (SPSFC2) is within sight, with the winner to be announced in mid-July. My team advanced three of our semifinalists to the finals, before being given four more books to read on the way to determining an overall winner. Today, we’ll be looking at a self-described first contact techno thriller: Melody by David Hoffer.

Jay’s Review and Rating

Overall, a strong start full of the wonder of discovery helped Melody quickly grab my attention, but some flat villains and a second half that felt more like a generic thriller kept it from really distinguishing itself. It’s an easy read and a fine story if you’re looking for a sci-fi thriller, but without that extra element to really set it apart.

Jay has rated Melody 6/10. For more detail, check out his full review.

Josh’s Review and Rating

Melody is a cynical take on first contact, and it’s one that pretty much didn’t work for me, even if it certainly isn’t a bad book. The main theme of the book seemingly is that human contact with alien life and advanced technology is going to treated with extreme distrust and that humans will try to immediately misuse and abuse such technology if given it, especially governments and militaries. Is this a plausible idea? Sure, it can be, but it’s not a particularly insightful or interesting one. Add in a take on reincarnation that I kind of found distasteful and well, Melody is not a book I would have chosen to be a Finalist had I been a judge of it earlier in the competition.

Josh has rated Melody 6/10. For more detail, check out his full review.

Matt’s Review and Rating

Matt was not able to read and score Melody before the completion of the round. His score will be listed as Did Not Attempt, which does not affect the overall rating.

Sarah’s Review and Rating

Melody has an intriguing premise, though likely polarizing. For me, I experienced serious whiplash reading this book. It started out really depressing and traumatic (I would’ve appreciated content warnings), and then turned into a scifi thriller that has a completely different vibe from its beginning. It was difficult for me to reconcile those two parts, and hence be fully invested. Readers who wouldn’t mind the bleak disposition at the start may be more amenable to the insights our MC reveals.

Sarah has rated Melody 5.5/10.

Official Scores

Jay 6
Josh 6
Matt DNA
Sarah 5.5
Team 5.83


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